I agree with most people when they say that the pizza base or crust is the most important part of the pizza but it would not be complete without the sauce. So here are your best pizza sauce alternatives to use.
The pizza sauce is perhaps the most important part of the pizza when it comes to flavor. It is the binder of all the flavors that you get from the crust, toppings, cheese, and other ingredients.
While the most common pizza sauce used on a pizza is tomato-based, there are also some alternatives for the tomato pizza sauce. You can use these sauces to put on pizza and edit the flavor.
So, Can I use tomato sauce for pizza?
I have tried to use other types of sauce for pizza when I was a beginner, I used store-bought tomato sauce as that was available easily in my kitchen and it is worth the try.
I have even experimented by making quick pizza sauce using ketchup alone. Ketchup is not the best alternative but it can instead add flavors so you get that ketchup flavor that you are used to.
You can change the entire flavor of the pizza just by using another type of sauce. This can be done by either adding ingredients to the pizza sauce or changing the pizza sauce entirely.
This is a great way to experiment with your favorite toppings as well. You get to cook any of your favorite toppings and match them with the sauce that you will be using on the pizza.
So whether you run out of pizza sauce to use on your pizza or you just want to experiment with other flavors, you get to ask what do you use if you do not have pizza sauce available?
What Is Pizza Sauce?
Pizza sauce is a bit different from the common sauce that you would use on pasta or other recipes. Pizza sauce can be interchanged with tomato sauce but not always because of the consistency.
When you make your pizza sauce at home, you still base it on tomatoes. It is either made with just plain sauce or with tomato puree to create that thick consistency of the sauce.
Since the pizza sauce is quite thick, it does not add too much moisture to the thin crust. That means that while the pizza sauce combines the flavors of the pizza, it also keeps the crispiness of the crust.
A great pizza sauce is also seasoned really well. You get to add oregano, garlic, salt, Italian seasoning, and other spices in order to bind the flavors of the pizza and increase the tanginess.
The tangy flavor you get from the pizza sauce counters the oily texture and salty flavor from the cheese on the pizza. So in a way, the pizza sauce is a flavor neutralizer or combo.
The technique is to create a thin layer of pizza sauce over the pizza crust so that it holds both the cheese and the toppings. That way, it can bring the flavors of the pizza altogether.
There are pizza sauce brands that sell store-bought pizza sauce in a jar. Jar pizza sauce is perfect as they are sealed perfectly so as much as possible, go with pizza sauce in a jar.
What Can I Use Instead Of Pizza Sauce? (Pizza Sauce Alternatives)
There are a lot of pizza sauce alternatives but I have chosen only the best ones. That way, you will not ruin your pizza by experimenting with other ingredients that are not proven to make the pizza better.
1. Tomato-based Sauces
As I have mentioned before and as you can see with the mini recipe above, pizza sauce is made with a base of tomatoes and seasonings like garlic, salt, sugar, pepper, and more.
That is why I am confident that you can use other tomato-based sauces if you don’t have pizza sauce. Just make sure that you do not get a tomato-based sauce that is too saucy or has too much liquid in it.
What we are trying to avoid here is the water or excess moisture that might get into the pizza crust. This can ruin your entire pizza as the thin crust will have a hard time becoming crispy when cooked.
However, I have personally tried it on thin crust and I think if you use a little sauce, you are good but anything excess and instantly the crust gets soggy.
A great example of tomato-based sauces is Authentica Siciliana. This tomato-based sauce is made with almost the same consistency as pizza sauce but it has a slightly sweeter flavor.
It goes really well with Neapolitan pizza and the slight sweetness of the sauce reminds me of Pizza Hut’s pizza sauce.
This can give the pizza a slightly milder flavor so you can let your toppings shine. If you want stronger flavors, then you can go with Puttanesca and use simple toppings like cheese and basil.
Pesto sauce is a pretty common pizza sauce alternative. If you want a healthier pizza, then you can always turn to this classic basil and garlic sauce to use if you don’t have pizza sauce along with other toppings.
You can easily alter the pesto sauce as well. What I mean by that is you can make other sauces based on the basic pesto sauce recipe that you can also use on your pizza when cooking one and you don’t have pizza sauce.
Pesto sauce goes really well with toppings such as mushrooms, white meat like chicken, sausage, or just a simple combination of cheese and vegetables like tomatoes and bell peppers.
Adding feta cheese along with pesto sauce to the pizza can make the flavors stronger. I recommend doing this since pesto sauce does not have the strongest flavor compared to other alternatives.
Since pesto sauce is also not based on watery or liquid ingredients, you do not have to worry about the pizza crust becoming soggy when you use pesto sauce on your fresh dough.
This pureed mix of herbs and spices is what can give your pizza the best flavors that you are looking for. It is a delicious sauce that is made with Mediterranean ingredients.
So you can think of it as a mix of olives, capers, and sometimes, even anchovies. This sauce is perfect for white pizza toppings that do not have very strong flavors like mushrooms and vegetables.
Grilled eggplants and zucchinis go really well with Tapenade as it gives that BBQ flavor that also makes the pizza really delicious. It is also a relatively dry sauce or spread that you can use.
That means that the thin crust will stay crispy when it is cooked. You just need to be careful not to burn the Tapenade and keep an eye on the pizza while it is cooking so you can get it out before overcooking it.
4. Alfredo Sauce
Alfredo sauce might not be the healthiest alternative for pizza sauce. However, it is a really delicious alternative that you can use on any type of pizza if you don’t have pizza sauce, but preferably chicken alfredo pizza.
The classic white sauce recipe goes really well with chicken toppings as well as ricotta cheese. So you still get some healthy topping with a decent amount of protein so you do not have to feel too guilty about the sauce.
I love adding some spices to the mix so that the pizza can become more vibrant. I mean, it does not hurt to add a pinch of red pepper flakes on the pizza to add a bit of color to it.
5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
This might come as a surprise to some of the pizza lovers on this page but Extra Virgin Olive Oil is actually a really great pizza sauce alternative as it is healthy, and can help with the texture of the pizza.
EVOO is a really great pizza sauce alternative if you want to make a pure pizza and highlight the flavors of your favorite toppings. It is healthy, light, and easy to use on your pizza.
There are many sellers that you can choose from if you want to use EVOO as your pizza sauce. Make sure to choose the ones that have more flavors or something with a stronger flavor.
EVOO that is used in salads is pretty mild for your pizza so I do not recommend it. The point is to highlight the flavors of your toppings but that does not necessarily mean that you remove the flavor of the sauce.
Do not worry if you have gotten an EVOO with a robust flavor as you are only going to use a small amount of it. Just drizzle it over the pizza dough and then place your toppings on top.
The oil will not only bind the flavors of the toppings but will also help in creating a crispy edge on the thin crust of the pizza, which everyone will enjoy for sure.
6. Barbecue Sauce
If you love grilling, then you must have your favorite BBQ sauce on the side. You can use this as your pizza sauce alternative and make the best pizzas with your favorite grilled cuts of meat.
BBQ sauce goes really well with pre-cooked and shredded chicken for pizza as well as vegetable toppings like onions and bell peppers. There is, however, an important note that you should remember.
When you use BBQ sauce on your pizza, make sure to use only a small amount of it and spread it thinly on the pizza dough so that it does not overpower the flavors of the other ingredients.
I love using BBQ sauce on the pizza when I have leftover chicken or turkey. Come to think of it, Thanksgiving has just passed so you can definitely use some of your leftover turkeys on your pizza.
Some Lesser-known Alternatives
Muhammara is a slightly spicy paste that is made with a lot of delicious spices. It has a relatively thick consistency which means that it does not add too much water to the thin crust of the pizza.
However, you need to spread the muhammara evenly and quickly so that it does not add too much weight to just one part of the pizza. It is made with walnuts, red pepper flakes, molasses, and sometimes even breadcrumbs.
The flavor of the muhammara is slightly spicy, tangy, and smoky. This means that the sauce goes really well with toppings such as chicken, sausage, and even sliced steaks.
Gremolata is kind of similar to pesto wherein it is made with green ingredients like minced parsley. The difference is in the flavor where Gremolata is a lot tangier than pesto sauce.
That is because of the addition of lemon zest to the mix. There is also minced garlic which makes the combination of flavors really good on pizza with vegetable toppings.
I mean it goes really well with meat toppings as well but I found it better with artichoke hearts, wilted greens, and even sliced potatoes on the side.
Can I Use Pasta Sauce Or Spaghetti Sauce Instead?
During my first months of cooking pizzas, I have often wondered whether I can substitute spaghetti sauce for pizza sauce or not.
Pasta or spaghetti sauce is usually made with crushed tomatoes. The process of crushing the fresh tomatoes improves the liquid content or brings out the moisture from the tomatoes.
Since pasta sauce is made with crushed tomatoes, the consistency is much thinner than pizza sauce. It has more moisture in it and it can hugely affect the consistency or crispiness of the thin crust.
The reason behind the watery consistency or thinner consistency of spaghetti sauce is to allow the sauce to cover the pasta easily. This is really good so the pasta is full of flavor in every bite.
You cannot say the same when it comes to pizza as you need the thicker consistency from the pizza sauce. The runny consistency of the pasta sauce can instantly ruin the thin crust of the pizza.
The similarity in flavor between the pizza sauce and pasta sauce is observable. Since pasta sauce also uses seasonings like salt, pepper, and oregano, you can still taste pizza sauce in it.
The biggest difference between pizza sauce and pasta sauce is the consistency since pizza sauce is like a tomato puree. Pasta sauce is usually made with a watery consistency and you will find some chunks of tomatoes on the sauce.
Even though pizza sauce and pasta sauce have similar flavors, I would not advise using pasta sauce on your pizza.
Pasta sauce is a healthy substitute for pizza sauce but it can easily ruin the pizza by making the thin crust soggy when cooked, so if you are a beginner do not go there.
You can use a healthy alternative for pizza sauce once you have some experience with cooking pizzas as you need to make sure you do not overload the pizza with the pizza sauce.
You can use other kinds of sauce for pizza or any sauce based on tomatoes but you need to consider the consistency of it. There are also white pizza sauce alternatives for different types of pizzas.
So, what can I use as an alternative for pizza sauce?
Some of the other healthy substitutes for pizza sauce are salsa, crushed tomatoes, garlic paste, or seasoned coconut cream.
Can I Use Marinara Sauce?
Another idea came to mind when asking what I can use aside from pizza sauce, and that is marinara. It is a pretty common type of sauce for different recipes.
It is like the middle ground of pasta sauce and pizza sauce. It is made with pureed tomato just like pizza sauce but it also has a thinner and more watery consistency like pasta sauce.
The difference between this type of suace and pizza sauce is that marinara sauce usually has lower moisture content than pasta sauce. There are also fewer tomato chunks since it is also finely pureed.
Perhaps the biggest difference between this sauce and pizza sauce is the tomatoes used, or how you process them. The marinara sauce uses tomatoes that are peeled before being blended.
A great pizza sauce alternative is Marinara and I love using it. It is an authentic Italian pizza sauce and they use it in Neapolitan pizzas.
So saying that it is the best pizza sauce substitute in my opinion is right and you should definitely use it while making pizzas.
This simply means that you get to use a smoother consistency than pizza sauce since there are no hard parts coming from the skin of the tomatoes.
The tomatoes are blended to get a smooth consistency.
It is a good alternative for pizza sauce but it is not as flavorful as pizza sauce since it does not use as many seasonings as you would with pizza sauce.
This sauce is also cooked prior to use on the pizza. Marinara sauce on pizza is not actually that bad, but you do have to be careful about the consistency and the moisture content.
Since the sauce is mixed with roasted garlic while it is being cooked, you will find the difference in flavor compared to pizza sauce. It is commonly used as a dip instead of using it as sauce.
If you want to experiment with this type of sauce, then I recommend buying Rao’s homemade marinara sauce.
How To Make Pizza Sauce– Pizza Sauce Recipe
In case you cannot buy any quick pre-made pizza sauce from your supermarket or you would prefer to make your own homemade pizza sauce recipe, then I have a simple guide here for you to follow in case you want to make your own.
The easiest alternative is to make a quick pizza sauce using ketchup by seasoning it with oregano, pepper, and other spices. The ketchup counters the spices with its slight sweetness so you get a really savory flavor.
Making your own pizza sauce at home will also allow you to adjust the flavors that you want. You can also add spices that you want in order to make the pizza sauce fit your palates better.
Prepare your spatula, bowls, ingredients, and other tools that you will need, and follow this quick step-by-step pizza sauce recipe guide on making your own pizza sauce instead before we get into the alternatives.
- 15 ounces of tomato sauce (smooth and not chunky)
- 6 ounces of tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tablespoon of garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
- Fresh basil, fresh oregano, and red pepper flakes to taste
Step 1: Process The Tomatoes
Get a large bowl and mix the tomato paste and the sauce in it. Mix them thoroughly and make sure to remove or smoothen out any tomato chunk that might have gotten into the mix.
If you are using canned tomatoes, which, I think is better, use an immersion blender to puree the tomatoes. Make sure that the tomato mixture is smooth and thickened in the bowl.
Step 2: Season The Sauce
Add the garlic salt, sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and the other seasonings to the mix. Get a clean spatula and mix the ingredients together really well before storing.
If you have more familiar spices that you want to use, you can put them on the sauce instead. It depends on what you prefer to use and what kind of pizza you are going to cook.
Step 3: Make Pizza Or Store
Once the pizza sauce and seasonings are mixed together, they are ready for your pizza. Use right away on your fresh pizza dough, preferably low-carb pizza dough, add the toppings, and then cook your pizza.
If you are not planning on using the pizza sauce right away, make sure to store it in a sealed container, preferably in a jar, and then place it in the refrigerator to make it last for up to a week.
You can also store the pizza sauce recipe in the freezer to make it last for at least 2 months. Make sure to use it as soon as possible so that you can still get the fresh flavors from the different seasonings.
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